We can save lives

I feel very sorry for those who have been labelled as ‘super infectors’ by the Government and media. Not only are they ill, they run the risk of being treated as society’s scapegoats in the wake of the SARS epidemic.
“Esther Mok infected the whole lot of us,” health minister Lim Hng Kiang said at a recent press conference. Source: Yahoo News. Yet, authorities are reportedly afraid to release her, as it may spark a media frenzy. I wonder why.
Was it solely her fault for being highly contagious, for a reason our researchers have yet to uncover? While it may be a fact that some people have a higher propensity for transmitting the virus, we should focus instead on how to identify and immediately isolate these ‘super infectors’. And move on from there.
Public education is most important now. It’s time we thought of the wider community, and not ourselves. Our behaviour could save, or cost, lives.
For instance, I’ve heard a report of how another Singaporean with fever refused to go directly to Tan Tock Seng hospital. Instead, he/she went for a checkup at another hospital which was not equipped to handle the SARS virus. This patient’s reason? He may not have SARS, so why should he put himself at risk of catching it there?
This person had the SARS virus, and also infected two or three other medical staff from the other hospital who were neither equipped nor protected against the virus.
There are repercussions every time a new medical institution is hit with the virus. That means that wards get closed, staff get sent home, and other patients who seek treatment for non-SARS related illnesses are put on long waiting lists or denied treatment outright.
I hope Singaporeans see the bigger picture, and realise that we now bear a heavy responsibility. On hindsight, I am thankful to the many more patients who did go to the right hospital, thereby protecting other people from catching the virus from them.